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Minnesota Office of the Secretary of State

Newsletter Review
Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State Newsletter - March 2013
Posted Date: 3/7/2013 12:15 PM

Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State



March 7, 2013





1.      Township Elections to be held March 12

2.      Special Election Results for House Districts 19A and 14A

3.      PEW Study Identifies Minnesota Among States with Best Election Administration

4.      Voter Outreach, Engagement and Education


5.     Election Legislation

6.     Safe at Home Legislation


Business & Nonprofits

7.    Business Annual Renewal Filings

8.         Now Available – Business Copy Orders Returned Electronically

9.         Certified Copy Changes



10.     March Open Appointments



11.   Flag Etiquette Brochures Available


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ELections & Voting

1.                  Township Elections to be held March 12 


            All townships convene meetings on Tuesday, March 12, 2012; some are scheduled
to hold elections on that date. Contact your township clerk for further information.


2.              Special Election Results for House Districts 14A and 19A

House District 14A held a special election on Tuesday, February 12 to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Representative Steve Gottwalt. The results of House District 14A were certified by the Stearns County Canvassing Board on Wednesday, February 13. Because the house district is totally contained within one county, the results did not need to be certified by the State Canvassing Board. House District 14A includes the eastern part of Stearns County, including much of St. Cloud, in central Minnesota. Official results show Tama Theis (Republican) received the most votes in the election with 2,670 votes. Joanne Dorsher (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) had 2,091 votes and Todd McKee (Independence) finished with 130 votes.

House District 19A also held a special election; the official results show Clark P. Johnson (Democratic-Farmer-Labor) winning the election with 2,680 votes. Allen Quist (Republican) had 1,801 votes and Tim Gieseke (Independence) finished with 511 votes. House District 19A includes all of Nicollet County as well as parts of Le Sueur and Blue Earth Counties, including part of Mankato, in southern Minnesota. The resignation of Representative Terry Morrow created the vacancy.

The results of the House District 19A Special Election were certified by the State Canvassing Board.  Members of the board included Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, Chair; The Honorable Alan C. Page, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; The Honorable Wilhelmina M. Wright, Associate Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; The Honorable Denise D. Reilly, Judge, Fourth Judicial District; and The Honorable Ivy S. Bernhardson, Judge, Fourth Judicial District.

3.                  PEW Study Identifies Minnesota Among States with Best Election Administration

According to the Elections Performance Index report released by the Pew Charitable Trusts Minnesota’s election system performs among the top states. The study highlights the strengths of Minnesota’s election system including the use of Election Day Registration.
The index uses election data from all states emphasizing 17 key indicators to assess individual states’ election systems. Under the criteria, Minnesota placed in the top five states for the 2008 and 2010 elections.


In its press release, Pew emphasized the success of Election Day Registration nationwide: “Six of the 10 states with the lowest rates of nonvoting due to registration problems – Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota and Wisconsin – have allowed Election Day Registration for at least two decades . . ..”


The report and press release about the Elections Performance Index from Pew Charitable Trusts may be found at: and


4.         Voter Outreach, Engagement and Education


To communicate directly with young voters and provide support for civics and social studies teachers, this Office offers voting workshops for high school students.  These interactive and engaging workshops introduce high school students to the basics of voting while also educating them about the importance of civic engagement. 


Voting workshops are also available for all age groups and community organizations serving new voters.    If you would like to schedule a workshop for your school or community organization, please visit and fill out a workshop request form or contact 651-201-1324.



5.        Election Legislation


The Office of the Secretary of State is closely monitoring legislation this session which modernizes our current elections system while providing costs savings to the local units of government who are our partners in election administration. These proposals include measures that would increase voter participation and safeguard the integrity of our elections process. Some of the key proposals include:


·         No Excuse Absentee Balloting: SF 677/HF 193

      Current law only allows voters to cast absentee ballots if they claim to have one of five legal excuses, including being ill or out of the precinct.  This proposed legislation would allow Minnesotans to cast an absentee ballot without having to provide an excuse and allows our current process to continue without asking voters to be limited in their reasons for how and when they need to vote. We lead busy lives and need a voting system that keeps that in mind.

·         Early Voting: SF 677/HF 334

Most states allow their citizens to cast their ballot before Election Day. This bill would allow early voting in Minnesota during the two weeks prior to Election Day at a city hall or county courthouse. Voters would not need to fill out absentee balloting paperwork or worry that their ballot would be rejected because of a mistake they made filling it out.  They would place their ballots directly into a voting machine, but the ballots would not be counted until Election Day.  Early voting benefits voters with busy schedules by providing additional time to cast a ballot and it would help to reduce lines on Election Day, helping everyone to get in and out of the polling place faster.  This is especially handy for our “snowbirds” that head south before Election Day to escape wintery weather and roads.  It would also reduce costs for counties and city election officials by eliminating the administrative burden of processing in-person absentee ballots.

·         Expanding Mail Balloting: SF 667/HF 224

Right now our smallest townships can choose to use mail-balloting for their elections. This bill would allow more townships and small towns to make use of this cost saving approach. Eligible registered voters living in these areas would receive their ballot directly in the mail.

·         Lowering the Recount Threshold: SF 667/HF 197

The bill lowers the threshold for triggering a taxpayer-paid recount and will save tax dollars by reducing the number of recounts where the vote margin is too wide to change the election results. In addition, this bill requires candidates to request a recount in writing if they want the public to pay this expense.

·         Felon Notification: SF 667/HF 637 

This legislation enables greater data sharing between the courts, the Department of Corrections and the Office of the Secretary of State to make sure that voters who have had their right to vote revoked because they have been convicted of a felony are aware of this fact. By improving our process for notifying those who have been convicted of a felony and are serving parole or probation in the community, we will lower the number of investigations and prosecutions for voting before voting rights have been restored.  This will reduce costs for county prosecutors, law enforcement and the courts.


If you have an interest in following these bills or contacting your state legislator regarding the changes proposed, visit 


6.     Safe at Home Legislation

Legislation has been introduced that will help to clarify procedures for participants in Safe at Home. This legislation would put into place additional measures to further protect the address confidentiality of those participating in the program. Senator Goodwin and Representative Simon are sponsoring SF509/HF 580  and the office is grateful for their support of this important victim services program.

If you have an interest in following these bills or contacting your state legislator regarding the changes proposed, visit 




7           Business Annual Renewal Filings


Business annual renewal filings are required each calendar year for business entities that are domestic and foreign business corporations; limited liability companies; limited liability partnerships; limited partnerships; or domestic non-profit corporations. There is no charge for most renewals. Note: Failure to file an annual renewal by December 31st will result in dissolution.

To submit a renewal online, go to


8.                  Now Available – Business Copy Orders Returned Electronically


Plain and certified copy orders can be filed online and in most cases will be  returned electronically. Access online filings and orders at


9.                  Certified Copy Changes


The color and manner of affixing the stamp used to certify that a document is filed with the Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has changed.  The stamp used to certify a document will be black ink instead of red and will be attached as an additional page to the end of the filed document.  This change was effective on February 25, 2013.

Open Appointments


10.         March Open Appointments


              The following entities will have one or more vacancy published on March 4, 2013:


-          Anoka Metro Regional Treatment Center

-          Board of Peace Officer Standards and Training

-          Board on Judicial Standards

-          Chicano Latino Affairs Council

-          Crime Victims Reparations Board

-          Juvenile Justice Advisory Committee

-          Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

-          Minnesota Security Hospital

-          Minnesota Sex Offender Program

-          Minnesota Board of Social Work

-          Minnesota Comprehensive Health Association Board of Directors

-          Motorcycle Safety Advisory Task Force

-          Respiratory Care Advisory Council

-          Trauma Advisory Council

-          Urban Indian Advisory Board


Open appointment information is available at: 


Subscribe to the monthly open appointments vacancy email notification at: 


If you have questions about open appointments, please contact this office at:


Civic Education


11.     Flag Etiquette Brochures Available

The Office of the Minnesota Secretary of State has “Guide to Flag Etiquette” brochures available. This brochure provides information on the proper handling and display of the flag. Order a “Guide to Flag Etiquette” brochure by emailing this office at: or call 651-201-1324.


The brochure is also available online as a PDF document at:


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